ellenkushner: (Default)
We saw Lithgow & co's KING LEAR last night at Shakespeare in the Park. Well worth seeing.  Really really smart and interesting direction. Lear & Fool's relationship best I've ever seen:  Fool genuinely bitter about Cordelia's loss at first, all his jokes barbed - then he takes over as Lear's glue & caretaker:  "Keep me in temper" spoken to him and not the gods.  And Edmund a classic Shakespearean sociopath - dispassionate & charming & in cahoots with the audience - in a line with Richard III & Iago - he should always be played that way!  Because of miking, every word crystal clear & some vocal subtlety allowed.  Best Lear-Edgar-Kent-Fool ("I took you for a joint-stool") scene ever, because they were ALL PLAYING OFF EACH OTHER instead of fading into the background when it wasn't their turn.  Edgar's Mad Tom was utterly freaking out the Fool, who kept edging away from him.  Tom very physical, jumped on top of Kent at one point.  Everyone united in trying to protect the unraveling Lear.
Kent genuinely funny, Gloucester genuinely dignified - if a bit of a fool (and his eventual transformation less than satisfying).  Cornwall a true brute; Albany irresistibly reminiscent of a nice Jewish man who just wants everyone to be decent - til he sees it's hopeless.  Cordelia's opening scene terrific, as you can see she & Lear have a special bond, so she expects him to get what she's doing…. and everyone's dawning horror when they realize he means it and is not quite himself and nothing anyone can do about it.  How Kent tries! What a writer, that WS - the number of times Kent refuses to give up….
Best closing lines to a play ever ever ever:
The weight of these sad times we must obey;
Say what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest have borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much nor live so long.
ellenkushner: (*Simon van Alphen by Nicolaes Maes)
Private Romeo appears to be opening in NYC this week.

Watch the trailer.  It's perfectly decent, but your reaction may not be, ah, Office Safe....  

Here's today's NYTimes review - you should be all right with that.
ellenkushner: (Simon van Alphen by Nicolaes Maes)
We're in Boston for a wedding (and various meetings). Armed with the courage of our Shakespearean convictions, we went tonight to the opening preview of the fantastic fantabulous daring and gifted Actors' Shakespeare Project's Coriolanus at the giant rehabbed Amory in Somerville, our old hometown. It's pretty amazing. And, as Delia pointed out (when she made me commit to buying tix) how often do you get to see it performed?

A favorite bit*:

BRUTUS (But not the one you're thinking of)
There's no more to be said, but he is banish'd,
As enemy to the people and his country:
It shall be so.
It shall be so, it shall be so.
You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you . . . .
. . . . Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

It's a crazy, risky play to do now, as C. is an anti-populist nutdog military hero whose values - and mistakes - are from a doubly-alien culture (Elizabethan & Elizabethans' Take on Ancient Rome); but what a fabulous collection of characters! Especially his mother, who is very well-played. They set it all in kind of an early Soviet era, which translates well.

*And if anyone wants to volunteer the Easy Reader version of this speech, I am prepared to chortle
ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)
Need a little bitter comic relief?

Howbout No Fear Shakespeare's online "translation" of Twelfth Night?

Yes, it's all so much clearer now, when lines like:
What country, friends, is this?
What country is this, friends?

For saying so, there's gold.
so clearly explicated as
Thank you for saying that—here's some money to express my gratitude.

Though my very favorite has to be:
It is perchance that you yourself were saved.
O, my poor brother! And so perchance may he be.

It was a total fluke that you yourself were saved.
Oh, my poor brother! But maybe by some fluke he was saved too.

One can only hope.

October 2014

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